Turtlehead Peak Hike

Boulder City, NV

While hiking earlier this week, we spoke with a young couple who live in this area.  We asked about good hikes around Las Vegas and they recommended we look at a hike to Turtlehead Peak.  The peak is in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservatory Area, which is about forty miles from our base in Boulder City and a few miles west of Las Vegas.  After a little research we found the hike to the top of the peak is only about two and a half miles.  OK, that’s not too bad.  But the hike is listed as “difficult” as the route climbs over 2,000 feet.  That is pretty steep, but the hard part is climbing the 800 vertical feet in the gully and chute system that leads to the summit ridge in less than half a mile!

A view of Turtlehead Peak from the highway

We’re always up for a challenge and the hike is listed as challenging because it is strenuous, not because it is dangerous.  So off we went for a little adventure.  The parking area was crowded when we arrived as there are several trails that begin at the same point.  But we found a place along the road and set out.

We’re going where ? ? ?

The first half of the hike is on a well-defined trail with a gradual gain in elevation.

But as we approached the gully on the left of the peak things got a bit interesting.  This is an un-maintained trail with many paths to chose from.  So the best you can do is chose a path and stick with it.

OK, where’s the trail?

The rocky trail went up . . .

. . . and up . . .

. . . and up!

But the nimble hiker just kept climbing . . .

. . . until reaching the top of the peak!

The parking area is in the center of the photo above, but it is a bit far away and difficult to see.  So a zoom shot is needed to be sure the Jeep is still there.

Lunch with a view – Las Vegas is in the distance

A zoom shot of “The Strip”

While the hike up the trail was a challenge, the hike back down was equally difficult.

When not sliding down a steep rock formation, we had to navigate down long, steep stretches of loose gravel.  Lisa of Metamorphosis describes it as walking on marbles down hill.  We agree!

As we descended the views were pretty interesting.

A successful adventure!

The hike up to Turtlehead Peak might be the most challenging we have done.   But we took our time, drank plenty of water, and ate something at the top and were able to complete the hike without incident (OK, someone scraped and banged an elbow sliding down some gravel).  But it sure felt good to get back to the Jeep and head home!

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24 Responses to Turtlehead Peak Hike

  1. Im catching up with what you guys are up to, and boy you are putting all of us to shame with your adventurous spirit and hiking stamina!

  2. Sherry says:

    Wow, I think I might have backed out at that height gain in that distance. Glad you went though so I could see those fantastic views, thanks! I do think you win the hiking award.

  3. Gay says:

    Definitely a great hike with a reward at the top! I agree about the loose rocks…we have had close calls on them in the past. That’s my least favorite, especially going down!

  4. libertatemamo says:

    Now That’s some serious backcountry hiking…with some serious views. Very impressed!

    Nina

  5. pmbweaver says:

    Now that was a workout! WOW. As you were climbing, I was thinking about…Egads, they have to come back down. That is what would have killed me. I don’t mind going up, but I hate seeing where I have to go down. Scary. But not for the nimble hikers! Good job.

  6. What a beastly hike that was! I think loose rock combined with steep slope is the most tricky surface you can possibly hike on. Throw in great views to distract you and I can understand why one might scrape an elbow! Good going you two!

    • placestheygo says:

      I was thinking as we we came down with little trail that there were too many things going on…trying to watch where John was going (he is always ahead), watching where I was going, and making sure I didn’t miss any of the views. This is really tough work:)

  7. Jodee Gravel says:

    It must be the shoes! You always look like you’re out for a long walk and instead you’re scaling mountains 🙂 Love the turtle skin on the one formation and the great views across the valley. Glad you made it down safely.

  8. Lenore says:

    Wow! I am so impressed and inspired! You are a couple of really great role models!

  9. Lindsay says:

    Great blog today … however, think we will give this one a miss when we arrive in a couple of weeks!
    We only have a day there, so maybe scenic drive followed by Calico Tanks, Lost Creek and a few easier options or my foot will give out before our vacation has started!
    Keep up the good work.
    Lindsay x

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Lindsay, you might want to skip this one:) I hope your foot will be all right with all the loose gravel and deeper sand. Walking in the wash isn’t easy. Take it easy:)

  10. LuAnn says:

    You two crazy kids! Not sure I would enjoy this one so much. My knees hurt just looking at those downhill shots.

  11. See, that’s why I have Sharon. She would say “no $5@*^!+% way”. And that would be the end of it.

  12. Laurel says:

    Wow, your photos of climbing up that trail made me nervous! Glad you took me there virtually, because I don’t think we’ll be doing that one. The climb up looked tough, and I can certainly see why coming down would be treacherous with loose rock and such a steep incline! The views were spectacular, though! You guys rock. (Don’t know why, but this post didn’t come to my inbox. Maybe it’s because I’m not supposed to hike it, haha!)

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